Daily Thoughts in the Lord V

Another week, time for another day of five years of Bible reflection. I pray that it gives you some food for thought as it did me as I reread what I wrote today those few years ago:

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ – Ephesians 4:15 (NASB)

Speak the truth in love. Speak the truth not to hurt someone, but to instruct and correct, to get them back on the narrow path, the strait gate. Likewise, hear the truth in love, listen to and heed the advice, so as not to stray and stumble too much yourself.

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26 (NASB)

Heed his voice and do what is right in His sight; let me follow this path as a way of life, as a command to be obeyed all my life. Let me listen for His voice, however soft and still, let me discern it among the clamor of a sinful world. Like me ring like a bell, like a clarion call to me.

There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. – Ecclesiastes 5:13 (NASB)

It is sad for a man to hoard his earthly possessions as if they could offer him anything of eternally lasting value. Riches are nothing if they are not used under the Lord’s will, He who provided them, and not under the sinful callings of man’s own heart.

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ – Matthew 22:37 (NASB)

My love for my Lord should know no equal, should know no bounds because He is without equal and boundlessly infinite. He is everything to me, for only He can give me anything of lasting value anything that has true worth in my life and everything that I truly need. Without Him I am less than nothing.

…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. – 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NASB)

There is one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God who died for me upon the Cross in the body of the Son. I live through Him because He died for me and as a result, I through Him. All comes from the Lord, there is nothing that is left that is not under His sovereign will.

Let the Word of God be the beacon that keeps you from running the rocks when your mind is like a stormy, windswept night or fog filled day.

Daily Thoughts in the Lord IV

Another week, time for another day of five years of Bible reflection. I pray that it gives you some food for thought as it did me as I reread what I wrote today those few years ago:

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ – Ephesians 4:15 (NASB)

Speak the truth in love. Speak the truth not to hurt someone, but to instruct and correct, to get them back on the narrow path, the strait gate. Likewise, hear the truth in love, listen to and heed the advice, so as not to stray and stumble too much yourself.

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26 (NASB)

Heed his voice and do what is right in His sight; let me follow this path as a way of life, as a command to be obeyed all my life. Let me listen for His voice, however soft and still, let me discern it among the clamor of a sinful world. Like me ring like a bell, like a clarion call to me.

There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. – Ecclesiastes 5:13 (NASB)

It is sad for a man to hoard his earthly possessions as if they could give him anything of eternally lasting value. Riches are nothing if they are not used under the Lord’s will, He who provided them, and not under the sinful callings of man’s own heart.

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ – Matthew 22:37 (NASB)

My love for my Lord should know no equal, should know no bounds because He is without equal and boundlessly infinite. He is everything to me, for only He can give me anything of lasting value anything that has true worth in my life and everything that I truly need. Without Him I am less than nothing.

…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. – 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NASB)

There is one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God who died for me upon the Cross in the body of the Son. I live through Him because He died for me and as a result, I through Him. All comes from the Lord, there is nothing that is left that is not under His sovereign will.

Another week of reflection, any week closer to our Lord and Savior because…Jesus is coming soon!

Daily Thoughts in the Lord III

Another look at a day of reflecting on passages from Scripture on the same day over a five-year span:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16 (NASB)

My flesh wars against the Spirit that is within, I struggle not to do the things that please my fleshly nature. Lord, I need your help to walk by the Spirit, to do the things that please You, that glorify Your kingdom, that show Your light to others still in darkness.

Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote – Isaiah 29:13 (NASB)

Let me draw near to my Lord with my heart, not just my words. Let me serve my Lord from my heart, not pay Him lip service. Let my service be joyful and heartfelt, honoring Him and giving Him all the glory and praise my heart can muster.

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NASB)

Let my ambition be for the Lord, let me live my life only for the Lord Jesus Christ.Without total focus on Him, and Him alone, letting His love rule my life, it is a life with no purpose or meaning than can sustain me until His return.

“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ – Malachi 3:7 (NASB)

The Lord is ever-present, He will never leave us, it is always we who turn away from Him. If I do not feel His presence near me, He has not withdrawn it, it is I who have turned elsewhere and am looking away instead of seeking His face.

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. – Romans 14:19 (NASB)

By my actions I should look to encourage and build up others in the Body of Christ. By my thoughts I should love them by seeking Him. I should pursue a Christ-like life by always following after Him, seeking Him eagerly, seeking Him urgently.

As I read what I wrote some years ago, I pray today that He always keep me focused on the person of my Savior, on the power of His presence ion my life. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, because…Jesus is Coming Soon!

Daily Thoughts in the Lord II

As with last week, I have looked at a five-year span for today’s date, to see what was on my mind as I read the Bible each day, on this day:

For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. – 2 Samuel 22:30 (NASB)

If the Lord is with me, if my God smiles down upon me, if He wills it, I can do anything. My life is secure in the Lord, I have given it to Him. For I am safe with the Lord’s hand upon my shoulder, He will lift me above all, He will raise me above sin, He will save me forever.

Professing to be wise, they became fools – Romans 1:22 (NASB)

Let me not profess to be wise in my right, for without God I lived a sad life. Let my wisdom come from Him alone, let my praise go to Him only, let all glory and worship be His, and be given to no one else. I am nothing without Him, He is my all in all forever.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. – Hebrews 13:2 (NASB)

We may never know the effects, the impact a single act of kindness can have. We may never know who we have helped, encouraged or put right upon the path by God’s grace through our love for others. It may be that we start a great wheel in motion for the glory of God for a time we cannot begin to imagine.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here. – Zechariah 3:7 (NASB)

I need but walk in the ways of the Lord to see Him bless my actions. I need but follow Him to feel Him close to me. His blessings He freely bestows on those who love Him and show themselves to be His children in this world. Let me eagerly be His everyday.

 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:21 (NASB)

The reign of Christ is over all; through His grace the reign of Christ is in me. It is grace that is victor over death, for Jesus is the victor over sin. I am in Him, He abides in me. I cannot lose because His grasp on me cannot be loosened forever.

Once again I claim no depth of insight, no exclusivity of the knowledge within the Word of God. You might view these as ramblings, if so, they are mine and given to me by the Spirit as I read my bible on this day years ago.

Nothing Supernatural

Excerpted from The Bible and the Cross – G. Campbell Morgan (1909)

All the things of which we speak as supernatural are only supernatural to our finite knowledge and understanding. The things of which we speak as miraculous are only so because we know certain laws, but are not acquainted with the whole economy of God. In the ages to come, and in the light of the Father’s house, we shall not speak of these things as supernatural, we shall discover that they are all in harmony with the nature of God.

Words of Grace for Strength

Isn’t it good to know that we cannot grasp the infinite wisdom of the sovereign Lord and creator of the universe? I take great comfort from knowing our Lord is divinely infinite, that we are finite beings that cannot begin to grasp who He is on our own. I do not want a God I can completely comprehend and understand because I know how messed up I am. We think of God’s intervention into our world as supernatural because God can intervene in His creation in ways outside of the laws He ordered for that creation, and we can recognize them as outside of His naturally ordered plans for how the clock of creation would tick. The Bible is replete with such instances, and those of us who treasure Scripture as Truth cherish each and every instance He has chosen to have set down. There will come a day when we stand in God’s presence and it will be the most natural thing for us, because it is His will that we do so.

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.  – Revelation 21:23

Morgan speaks of what will happen in the light of Father’s house, as we cast aside thoughts of supernatural events and understand the true harmony of God’s creation. The verse from Revelation talks of the light we will see by. How glorious the light there, for the Lamb is the Light. We will know what we know of the nature of God because we will know it with the mind of Christ, as we see clearly all that is now illumed by the light of the Lamb. Not only is there an abundance of joy, of life in the presence of the Eternal God, it is all seen by us by the light of Christ, by the glory of God. Morgan goes on to speak about some things of God are so high above us as to need our imagination just to think of them. But one day they will be known to us as they are to God.

And all that we see will not be supernatural to us, it will be completely and utterly natural, for it is the character of God that we will know through Jesus. Just as the Father looks at us and sees the Son, we will look upon our Sovereign with the eyes of our Lord and Savior. Wonderful and new to us, but not the least bit unusual or strange. It will be a comforting sight, a natural expression of God in His holy character.

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18

The best is yet to come. We can scarcely comprehend it today, but one day we will grasp the full meaning in both hands, for in God’s revelation to us will come the perfect knowledge of what He has for us for all eternity. And there can be nothing more natural for us than to be in the presence of He who created us, to fulfill His purposes for our existence, and to do it for eternity. Nothing supernatural for us awaits, only the true nature of the Lord and seeing, for the first time, the true harmony of His character with His creation.

 

The Silence May Be Golden

Believers often struggle with not hearing God’s voice in their lives. In some recent reading, several reasons were put forth about why someone doesn’t hear the God speaking to them that I found myself thinking about:

Disobedience: I think this is the one most people turn to first as a reason for God’s silence. If someone isn’t hearing God, there must be disobedience in their life. Sin. Defiance. This could well be, why would God speak to someone who is not in obedience to His will? A good question, but remember two things -1) we all struggle with our sin nature and will until the day the Lord calls us home and 2) God is loving, compassionate, merciful and gracious. Given that we all sin, it might be a long time before someone is at a point that there is no disobedience to God. Couple that with God’s attributes as mentioned above, and I don’t think that some level of disobedience or sin is always the reason someone doesn’t hear God speaking to them. If God only spoke to the sinless, the only person who would have heard Him speak was Jesus. That doesn’t sound right. Some would have you go through a sort of sin checklist to see if your sin is keeping God silent in your life. We are all sinners, and there is sin in our lives just about all the time. If sin is sin, and a holy God will not have it in His presence, I am not sure what good a checklist will do. How do you decide if a sin is a silencing inducing sin? I would prefer that we seek out the Lord and try to confess the sins in our life, looking to struggle with our nature and try to cut the sin in our lives. I will hold the checklists for NASA to use on spaceflights. Don’t get me wrong, silence from God may be indicative of a sinful, disobedience life that God has chosen not to speak into as a means for drawing one of His children back to Him. But we need remember that every sin does not mean silence.

Preparation: Silence from God might be because you are in a period of preparation for some revelation from God that the person has never known before. In reading Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King, this is stated as a reason for God’s silence, if the answer isn’t sin in a life. According to the authors if there is not unconfessed sin then there is a period of preparation of deeper understanding of God. The advice is to keep doing the last thing God told you to do until a fresh encounter with God comes along. That is certainly a possibility, God moving in a life often requires preparation for what He has for that person to do. Think of Moses in the desert for 40 years. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know He is God. Great advice from the Divine. A period of silence requires faith, and that can be used by God to mold one for His plans. Again, I get a little caught up with unconfessed sin and ruling it out and then saying it must be God is getting ready to reveal some new, deep understanding. I am not sure I agree with the Blackaby approach of rule out sin first and then ready oneself for deeper revelation from God.

Approval: In some respects this third reason builds on the second: it requires faith, showing a life molded, shaped and grown by God. But it offers an interesting counterpoint to the reason of disobedience. In the book entitled A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians: Address based upon the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (Yes that is the title), G. Campbell Morgan speaks to the seven letters included in Revelation 2 and 3. In the letter to the church in Smyrna, he offers up this nugget:

Some child of God, whelmed with great and crushing sorrows is longing for the sound of His voice, and there is nothing but silence. It may be that that silence is a sign, not of disapproval but of approval. Do not be cast down. If in the midst of tribulation and suffering there is no voice, it may be that the silence of the Lord is His highest commendation.

Morgan goes on to explain that the silence may be an indication that one is living at the highest level of faith and love of the Lord, requiring no word of encouragement from God. Think of that, a faith so strong that God shows His approval by silence, knowing the faith residing in the person is enough for the trial and tribulation the person finds themselves in. God knows the person enough and is confident in the faith inherent in that person so as not to need to speak to them.

I think that is a message today’s culture has caused the church to lay aside. We are conditioned by the world to expect feedback, to seek and receive praise, or encouragement or correction. But God’s ways are not ours. I know God is ever present in the lives of believers, but I haven’t found a Bible verse that states that He will be talking to us all the time. What is the will of God is to allow a believer to keep living and doing what he or she is doing because He approves, and He feels nothing else need be said. Imagine the faith of one who can find silence from God in their life and be joyous in the Lord because of it!

You are seeking His will and His way, searching out the purposes He has for your life. You are deep into study of and meditation on the Word of God. You are ministering to others around you, or are facing trial and tribulation but are turning to and leaning on Him alone. But there is nothing but silence from God. Keep doing what you know in your heart is in alignment with what the Lord has revealed in the pages of Scripture. I noted earlier that not every sin means silence; not every obedient act need be commented on by the Lord either.

Silence from God. Maybe you are not doing anything wrong. Maybe at this time in your life you are doing everything right.

The Cross, Always the Cross

Excerpted from: The Work of Christ: Past, Present and Future – A.C. Gaebelein (1913)

And now let us consider His work on the cross and what has been accomplished by it. But who is able to speak worthily of this theme of all themes? Who can fathom the solemn yet blessed fact, the death of the Son of God on the cross? What tongue or pen can describe the sad, yet glorious truth, that the Just One died for the unjust, that Christ died for the ungodly! He who knew no sin was made sin for us! And what human mind can estimate the wonderful results of His work on the cross!

Some Christians speak as if the death on the cross, the work accomplished there, is so fully known to them, that they do not need any more instruction on it. They tell us that they search for deeper things. There can be nothing deeper than the death of God’s Son on the cross. Depths are here which are unfathomable. We must ever turn back to the cross. Always we shall learn something new. With unspeakable Glory upon us and greater glory before us in eternal ages to come, the cross of Christ and the Lamb of God which has taken away the sin of the world can never be forgotten. But we shall never know what that death on the cross meant for Him and what it meant to God.

Words of Grace for Strength

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  – Hebrews 11:1

Our faith, our hope must be in the person of Jesus Christ and centered on the Cross. And as such, it truly is faith that carries us, faith and trust in Christ alone by the grace of God. Why do I call it faith? Because the Cross is something we cannot ever fully understand. Gaebelein notes that we can never know what the Cross meant to the Father and the Son. Thus, how can we ever fully understand it? We cannot know the depths of the thoughts of God, never fully understand His plans and purposes. We can embrace the will of God, but we cannot grasp it completely with our mind and understand it as He does.  Gaebelein speaks 100 years ago of Christians that do not think the Cross deep enough for the primary consideration. Not deep enough to meditate upon, to reflect upon, and to show gratitude for by living a life He would have lived by all who follow after Him. How many more think this way today?

Can we fully understand the death of a sinless man? Death came into the world as a result of sin, and a sinless man had to die in propitiation for our sins. The most necessary death (in terms of our salvation) was the most unnatural (in terms of cause and effect) the world has ever experienced. We cannot fully comprehend all the nuances of that in God’s eternal plans and sovereign purposes. So we must turn on faith and center on the Cross.

We must rely on, we must constantly turn back to something that we can never know what it meant to Him that gave it to us. Our faith is a gift which has a cost we cannot fully understand. Our faith is by grace, that is something we can spend a life learning about, a lifetime plumbing the depths of, and never reach the bottom of its’ life giving waters. In our faith we accept all He has given us, in our faith we accept that we cannot repay nor merit what is freely given.

In faith we accept what the Cross has made possible. And in all things we should turn to our Savior, and center on the Cross. Always the Cross. For without it, nothing else would be possible for us in the presence of God. For with it, all is possible before Him. And the Cross, always the Cross, is freely given to all who trust in Christ. Freely given, yet it cost more than we can imagine to Him who died upon it on our behalf.

The world will always hate it, because it will always need it. And we will always love Him who did so much for us upon it.

Let us focus on the Cross, always the Cross.